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Start planning your Christmas catering now

A visit to the supermarket or cash and carry will leave you in no doubt that Christmas food is there ready to be bought and the fact is that if you do not get the provisions early many of the popular items will be unavailable.

Whether you are just planning a family get together or have been tasked with the job of catering for a Christmas party, planning is key to the event running smoothly. Start by making a menu for the event being sure to check whether you need to cater for anyone with food intolerances or more serious allergies. Once you have decided on the menu you will need to break it down into the ingredients that you will need to buy and also think about a time scale for preparation and cooking. If you are going to be doing this from home then you will be aware of the equipment that you have but if you are going to be preparing food at the venue you will need to double check what equipment is available and whether you will prepare and cook the food before taking it there.

If you are going to provide drinks for the event it is a good idea to have a wide selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages available as there may be some guests who are driving or who prefer not to drink alcohol. Tea and coffee should also be made available as an option along with a warm mince pie.

Delicious afternoon tea without the hassle

Planning a sumptuous afternoon tea for a family treat or for a small group of friends is a lovely way to celebrate a special occasion however it does take a lot of preparation. It may be for this reason that some people choose to have their afternoon tea treat prepared and delivered by caterers.

In most areas there are catering companies or local cafes that offer afternoon tea at home and they can be easily found with a quick online search. It is a good idea to read the reviews that are usually posted regarding the quality of the food and level of service from these caterers to ensure you are pleased with the outcome.

Most afternoon tea menus include a selection of sandwiches, savouries such as quiche and sausage rolls, cakes and scones with fresh cream and a selection of different jams. If there are any people with allergies or intolerances most catering companies can provide gluten and dairy free alternatives which are equally delicious. You should expect homemade cakes and scones from a quality caterer and many also deliver homemade savoury dishes too. So, if you want a quintessential English treat without the hassle try afternoon tea at home prepared by a caterer.

Parties at home – should I hire a caterer?

Many people love entertaining and if you have young children, it seems like parties at home are becoming an ever-more common occurrence. Booking venues for events can be expensive, especially when you factor in food, not to mention that you’re often time-limited, and the food may be primarily beige and leave more than a little to be desired. Plus, if the event or occasion is for one of your children, it’s often in a highly child-focused venue and there’s much less opportunity for the adults to interact.

However, catering for a number of people can involve quite a lot of work and preparation, so increasingly people are turning to professional outside caterers to assist. This can then leave you free to enjoy the party, without having spent days prior cooking up pots of food or making and slicing sandwiches.

You may think that it sounds expensive, but it can be surprisingly cost-effective, especially when you factor in the time you’re saving. Most caterers offer a range of options to suit all budgets, on a price-per-head basis. I’d recommend only ordering food for 75% of attendees – as the allocation for each head is usually generous, this seems to be about the right level.

Thinking About your Customers as a Caterer

Working as a catering professional in a busy environment, it can be easy to lose sight of the people you are actually working for – your customers. When you are busy working in a kitchen, you can feel very far removed from the people eating and enjoying your food.

It is important never to lose sight of the people you are catering for, as this stops the job becoming a routine. You should think about crafting your menus and your services to meet the needs of the different people you are cooking for. If possible, have a chat to people to work out what they are looking for and to decide on menus with them. This is especially important if you are catering for a wedding. This might be routine catering for you, but for the bride and groom, it is their special day. Make them feel special with your customer service and attention to detail.

Hiring Out a Marquee for a Wedding and your Catering Requirements

A marquee makes a great venue for a wedding. It’s a good way to be able to seat all of your guests in one place and have plenty of room to adjust the layout as you wish. It is also likely to be cheaper than hiring our a building.

One of the main things you will need to think about is the catering for your wedding. If you hire our a building, often there will be a kitchen and you will be able to book wedding breakfast and buffet packages along with the hire. This may not be the case with a marquee wedding.

If you have a marquee that is in the grounds of a house or hall, ask about whether you will also have access to the catering facilities. Equally, if you hire an external caterer, find out whether they will have space to cook and prepare food.

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